The First Draft: Tuesday, Dec 16

December 16, 2008


The futures of Detroit’s reeling Big Three automakers and Illinois’ disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich hovered in a sort of suspended animation on Tuesday, with both awaiting final word of their fates. 

The carmakers have hope. Blagojevich’s hopes may be running out.
Illinois lawmakers approved an inquiry on Monday into whether Blagojevich should be impeached on charges he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. The state’s attorney general has gone to court to have him removed.

But Blagojevich has denied doing anything wrong and shown no willingness to resign his $177,000-a-year post. 

The Democratic-led House shelved a bill, backed by Republicans, to hold a special election in April to elect a new senator to replace Obama. The body then adjourned until Jan. 12, leaving the 21-member impeachment committee to meet through the holidays, if necessary. 

The carmakers hope they won’t have to wait that long, with lawmakers and other sources saying the Bush administration could act as early as Wednesday to approve their bailout from the $700 billion fund established in October to stabilize the financial services sector. 

The duel dramas in Illinois and Detroit have overshadowed the presidential transition of Obama, who is nearing completion on his Cabinet selections before he heads to Hawaii for the Christmas holidays at the end of the week.

Obama will hold another news conference at 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT) on Tuesday to announce he has chosen Chicago superintendent of schools Arne Duncan to be his nominee for secretary of education. 

He also will meet with members of his economic team, including his nominee for treasury secretary and his pick to run the National Economic Council.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (Chrysler trucks); Reuters/Scott Olson (File photo of Illinois Gov. Blagojevich); Reuters/Steven Carrera (Obama speaks at news conference)

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